Known to be of the most genuine and understanding staff members on campus, English teacher Charlie Rienhoff has uniquely impacted each and every student under his instruction. After 10 years of teaching at Pine View, Rienhoff will be relocating at the end of this school year and following his family to Baltimore after his son’s acceptance into a K-8 preparatory school for dyslexic students.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Rienhoff continued his education in Maryland at Washington College. Despite having dyslexia, he found refuge in English, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in the subject. “Being dyslexic, that was tough. English kind of seemed a better creative outlet for me. I enjoy a good story. There’s a whole other life in books. I find that a great escape from the sometimes grim reality around us,” he said. Later on, Rienhoff earned his master’s degree in teaching from Johns Hopkins University where he also met his wife, Christina.
Rienhoff initially began in finance. However, after about five years, he decided to make the switch to teaching within the classroom. “I was at a cross road in my life and decided to not seek out the all mighty dollar, but to help. There were a lot of teachers that helped me along the way and allowed me to be successful, even with my dyslexia. I just felt a sense of indebtedness,” he said. As a result of his wife Christina’s pregnancy and his parents’ move to the Port Charlotte area, Rienhoff and Christina moved to Sarasota — specifically, next door to the house of former Pine View Principal Steve Largo.
Largo’s influence largely contributed to Rienhoff’s eventual recruitment to join Pine View’s ranks; he recalls signing the paperwork confirming his position as a teacher the same day he left the hospital after his son’s birth.
Twelfth-grader Jonathan Greenstein, a former student of Rienhoff’s, said, “I can say, without a doubt, that Mr. Rienhoff has been the best teacher I’ve ever had. He taught really well. He would always come in with a smile on his face, and he cared about his students so much. That was really something that stuck with me. He offered waters to everyone all the time. He’d start off his day saying, ‘Hey, who was up late last night? We’re going to inspire you today.’ It’s the little things like that. He really connects with his students so well. He would have something on the board all the time that would say, ‘You are a true triple threat.’ It would make students feel good about themselves.”
Since Rienhoff’s first year, he’s adopted a parental influence in his students’ lives, often referring to himself as “Daddy.” “I just said it one day and it stuck,” Rienhoff said.
In order to commemorate Rienhoff’s time on campus, Greenstein, Christina and English teacher Lori Moyer are a few individuals working on putting together “Letters to Daddy,” a collection of personal student notes. “His students have been another set of kids for him,” Christina said.
While Rienhoff has taught all high school grade levels in courses ranging from AP Language and Composition to British Literature, his biggest impact has been the personal connections fostered with students. “One rough pill to swallow is that I have to leave what I really enjoy and what I hope people have benefited from,” he said. In Baltimore, he hopes to continue teaching and “enjoy life as much as possible.”
Moyer said, “His presence will be very missed, and he’ll leave a big hole in all of our hearts.”